Skagit County deputy recovering after suicide attempt at Island County jail

An inmate at the Island County jail who tried to kill himself Friday is recovering in the WhidbeyHealth Medical Center ICU, according to jail chief Jose Briones.

Russell Whitmore, a Skagit County Sheriff’s deputy, was being held in Island County jail as a courtesy to the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office, Briones said.

Whitmore, 33, was arrested Jan. 28 and charged in Skagit County District Court with second-degree assault, a domestic-violence charge, for allegedly choking his wife, the Skagit Valley Herald reported.

Whitmore was being held on $100,000 bail, which was increased to $250,000 last week, according to the Associated Press.

Corrections deputies found Whitmore unresponsive outside his cell — inside a pod in the jail — just before 4 p.m. Briones said Whitmore tried to hang himself while he was alone. His cellmate was at a visitation and Whitmore was discovered when the cellmate returned.

Corrections deputies immediately started CPR. Whitmore was then transported to the WhidbeyHealth ER for treatment.

Briones said the incident is being investigated, but it appears that all policies were followed by jail staff.

“It was a good response by the staff,” he said. “I attribute him still being here to that.”

Briones said Whitmore was talking and eating breakfast Monday morning.

“He’s recovering,” he said, “but we don’t know what the long-term effects may be.”

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